National assessment: “The GOP is positioned for a net gain of four to six seats in 2022 just thanks to the new lines alone. Republicans have benefited from their own brazen cartography in states like Florida and courts striking down Democratic gerrymanders in Maryland and New York.”
This has not been a good week for Democrats’ redistricting hopes. In NY, the map proposed by a court-appointed Special Master wipes out the 3-4 seats Democrats hoped to gain, and its leading Democrat incumbents against one another in new districts. We covered NY in New York Redistricting Turns From Dem Triumph To Dem Washout and Progressive Rep. Torres Accuses DCCC Chairman of Racism as Panicked NY Democrats Turn Fire on Each Other
Florida redistricting was the flip side of the original NY gains, with the map proposed by Ron DeSantis as approved by the legislature to gain Republicans 3-4 seats, DeSantis Proposed Congressional Map May Wipe Out Dems National Redistricting Advantage, Says NBC News.
The advantage DeSantis had, I wrote at the time, was that his map was developed by opposing racial gerrymandering in a district designed to keep a black Congressman in office:
DeSantis, however, refuses to keep the [Rep. Al] Lawson district because it was racially gerrymandered to keep Lawson in Congress, and DeSantis wants no part of racial gerrymandering…. So DeSantis did his usual jiu-jitsu, taking a hot button issue (a black congressional district racially gerrymandered) and turning it into a winning political issue.
The DeSantis map was put on hold by a state court trial judge who issued a temporary restraining order. Under Florida law, the TRO was subject to an automatic stay, but the trial judge lifted the stay, effectively putting the TRO back into effect and taking the map out of effect.
An appeals court today reinstated the stay pending appeal, meaning the TRO no longer is operative and the map is restored. The Appeals Court Order provides:
This case is an appeal of a temporary injunction, a non-final order over which this
court has jurisdiction for the purpose of review.
Based on a preliminary review, the court has determined there is a high likelihood
that the temporary injunction is unlawful, because by awarding a preliminary remedy to the
appellees’ on their claim, the order “frustrated the status quo, rather than preserved it.”
Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, Inc. v. MMB Properties, 211 So. 3d 918, 925
(Fla. 2017); see also Bowling v. Nat’l Convoy & Trucking Co., 135 So. 541, 544 (Fla. 1931)
(explaining that a temporary injunction is erroneous if “its effect would be to change the
status [quo]” or “to destroy the existing condition of the subject-matter of the suit”); id.
(defining the “status quo” in a case as “the last actual, peaceable, noncontested condition
which preceded the pending controversy”).
Given the exigency of the circumstances and the need for certainty and continuity
as election season approaches, on the court’s own motion, the stay of the temporary
injunction is reinstated pending the court’s disposition of the motion for review of the trial
court’s vacatur of the automatic stay, which will be promptly forthcoming.
The secretary’s motion to file a reply is granted, and the reply attached thereto will
be docketed as of the date the motion was filed.
It appears there will be an attempt to take the case to the Florida Supreme Court. The Jacksonville Tribune reports:
DeSantis’ office praised the decision.
“We’re pleased with the First District Court of Appeal’s decision to reinstate the automatic stay,” his office said in a statement. “As the First District correctly noted, there is a high likelihood that the circuit court’s temporary injunction is unlawful. To avoid uncertainty and confusion in the upcoming 2022 primary and general elections, it’s important to move forward expeditiously to implement the congressional map passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.”
U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, the Democrat who currently represents the 5th Congressional District at the center of the litigation, said in a statement that he is “confident that the Florida Supreme Court will undo today’s action and reinstate constitutional districts for North Florida in time for the 2022 election.”
Here’s the overall national redistricting assessment from 538:
Although Republicans went into the cycle with control over drawing more districts, redistricting has actually chipped away at the GOP bias in the House of Representatives. So far, redistricting has created seven more Democratic-leaning seats nationally vs. one more Republican-leaning seat. This is due to aggressive map-drawing by Democrats in states such as Illinois as well as court decisions overturning Republican gerrymanders in states like North Carolina.
After accounting for incumbency, however, Republicans are actually the ones who have gained ground from redistricting so far: The GOP is positioned for a net gain of four to six seats in 2022 just thanks to the new lines alone. Republicans have benefited from their own brazen cartography in states like Florida and courts striking down Democratic gerrymanders in Maryland and New York. Republicans have also shored up their existing position by converting light-red districts into safer seats in states like Texas.
With 28 districts yet to be drawn and lawsuits still pending in several states, the exact partisan upshot of redistricting is still subject to change.
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